Last month, the United States allegedly launched secret cyberattacks against Iran in response to the drone strike on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. The attacks, according to U.S. officials, were designed to hurt Iran’s ability to spread propaganda with minimal escalation of tensions. While most details of the operation remain as Pentagon secrets, it serves as another reminder of modern threats.
There is little data on the actual effectiveness of the policy of offense-oriented defense, which is vaguely referred to as “persistent engagement” by military officials. However, less than one year away from the 2020 election, concerns of another incident are once again surfacing. Government agencies have learned from their past mistakes and are already demonstrating new capabilities in ensuring security. Private sector firms have begun collaborating with the government in fielding the latest and most effective forms of cyber deterrence and protection. During the 2018 midterm elections, the military also attacked and temporarily took down the Russian group responsible for the 2016 misinformation campaign—a strategy likely to see action again in 2020.